The Business of War: Zelensky Thanks BlackRock, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs

Zelensky... a message from our corporate sponsors

A message from our corporate sponsors…

A thank you to those that create the global economic strength of America

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked: “those that create the global economic strength of America” and the U.S. corporations for supporting the Ukrainian war effort, saying the companies’ support is an opportunity for “big business” in an address Monday.

Zelenskyy spoke during the meeting of the National Association of State Chambers about how “American business can become a locomotive of global economic growth” after the war ends, according to a press release. He specifically thanked BlackRock, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs for their cooperation with Ukraine in the country’s plans for rebuilding after the war.

“We have already managed to attract attention and have cooperation with such giants of the international, financial and investment world as BlackRock, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, [and] such American brands as Starlink or Westinghouse have already become part of our Ukrainian way,” Zelenskyy said in his address.

“Everyone can become a big business by working with Ukraine, in all sectors, from weapons and defense to construction, from communication to agriculture, from transport to IT, from banks to medicine. And I believe that freedom must always win. And I invite you to work with us right now, ” Zelenskyy continued.

Ukriane corruption scandel

This comes as several senior Ukrainian officials were dismissed or resigned in recent days after being accused of corruption, according to multiple reports, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vows to crack down on pervasive corruption in the war-scarred country.

Ukraine’s biggest government shake-up since the war began came as U.S. officials said Washington was poised to approve supplying Kyiv with M1 Abrams tanks, with international reluctance eroding toward sending tanks to the battlefront against the Russians.

Entrenched corruption has long made foreign investors and governments wary of doing business with Ukraine. Allegations by Ukraine’s journalists and nonprofits about corruption at high levels of government, in courts and in business have lingered under Zelenskyy, despite a proliferation of anti-corruption panels and measures, according to a U.S. State Department 2020 country report.

In 2015 The Guardian called Ukraine “the most corrupt nation in Europe”. According to Transparency International‘s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, (a scale of least to most corrupt nations), Ukraine ranked 122nd out of 180 countries in 2021, the second most corrupt in Europe, with Russia the most at 136.

Zelenskyy was elected in 2019 on an anti-establishment and anti-corruption platform in a country long gripped by graft, and the new allegations come as Western allies are channelling billions of dollars to help Kyiv fight against Moscow.

Officials in several countries, including the United States, have demanded more accountability for the aid, given Ukraine’s rampant corruption. While Zelenskyy and his aides portray the resignations and firings as proof of their efforts to crack down, the wartime scandal could play into Moscow’s political attacks on the leadership in Kyiv.

The whitewashing of Ukraine corruption was pointed out recently by MEP Mick Wallace, who stated: “European Court of Auditors 2021 Report on #EU 15Bn spend in Ukraine – “We found that although EU has backed reforms to fight corruption…grand corruption remains a key problem in Ukraine”. How mad that EU Commission dismisses talk of corruption in Ukraine as Russia Propaganda..?”

President Zelensky eyes EU membership as his promised land, seemingly oblivious to the irony. This thorny issue helped ignite Ukraine’s civil strife in 2014, ultimately fueling today’s catastrophic US-Russia proxy war.

For years prior, Ukraine battled its own citizens in the Donbas as government forces shelled Russian-backed separatists. Thousands perished while the West largely ignored the conflict, instead supplying Kyiv with advanced weapons, escalating a civil war.

To join the EU, Zelensky must stamp out corruption. For a guy with his own Cayman Island bank account that’s a tough call. No matter, the rot permeates Ukraine’s governing institutions, reflecting systemic failings, not the people’s virtues. Indeed, similar decay spreads untrammelled across Western halls of power, including in Brussels and London.

Ukraine’s suffering merits sympathy, notwithstanding NATO’s shameful instigations. Putin breached international law, provoked or not, shattering Europe’s fragile peace. But acknowledging these truths need not require embracing fairy tales of Ukraine as a bastion of liberalism or democracy.

The country stands far from any ideal, with deeply troubling repression and quasi-democratic malpractice. Portraying this war as a melodramatic clash between freedom and authoritarian darkness confuses propaganda for complex realities.

Ukraine exhibits the chronic afflictions of post-Soviet states: oligarchy, kleptocracy and entrenched nepotism. To imagine this system represents Western values is to indulge delusions that court danger. For myths enable miscalculation and rash escalation while blinding us to risks.

If Ukraine wishes to be embraced by the EU’s club of virtue, the high table of capitalism it must confront its own demons first. But the path to redemption also demands uncomfortable truths rather than self-serving fictions. We do Ukrainians no favours with patently counterfactual cheerleading.

Nor should we avert our eyes from the West’s hypocrisies and cultural contradictions laid bare by this crisis. If freedom and democracy constitute our guiding principles, their light should illuminate our entire path, not just whichever sections offer passage to geostrategic goals. Oh, and profit…

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